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12 August 2014
Statement by the South African Board of Jewish Education
We recognise that the conflict that is taking place in the Middle East is devastating and the loss
of all life and injuries sustained are deeply painful to us.
The King David Schools are guided by our purpose which is to strive to nurture graduates who
are menschen, confident and equipped to pursue any opportunities they wish to, who are
proud of their Jewish Heritage and its traditions, who have a love for learning and a
determination to contribute to their society. In the context of this purpose we are proud of the
Jewish education which we provide the community. This education is built on a foundation of
values, principles and the centrality of the State of Israel to The Jewish People. Such education
is also underpinned by an approach based upon tolerance, discourse and dialogue.
The controversy and polarisation that has been created by a Facebook picture of one of King
Davids students representing South Africa in an international debating competition wearing a
kaffiyeh has gone viral on social media and resulted in unintended consequences. We
acknowledge that the picture posted was insensitive and hurtful and was seen as such in the
community. This has been a learning opportunity for the 17 year old pupil concerned and he
has both explained his stance in a later posting and genuinely apologized for the hurt it
produced. We appreciate his clarification to the community and he has further submitted an
apology to his school for his actions. His apology has been accepted. This pupil has had a
great deal to offer his school over the years he has attended it and he has achieved notable
The South African Board of Jewish Education has always encouraged and celebrated our diverse
student population and its varying attitudes and opinions. As an educational institution, we
have a long established heritage of encouraging debate, freedom of thought and expression.
We are proud of this ethos and the framework it has created for young people to grow and
learn from their mistakes as much as their successes.
The South African Board of Jewish
Education does not support censorship; rather we encourage our students to participate
amongst the diverse voices that make up the South African Jewish community. We would also
like to emphasise that some of the commentary on this issue on various social media has been
inappropriately hurtful and vitriolic which is against the ethos and values of the school.
It is the responsibility of the South African Board of Jewish Education to educate and nurture
young minds in an environment which is safe, yet where students are held accountable. We
also understand our task, as a school community, is to find ways to turn these kinds of
experiences into learning opportunities, and to work to ensure unity in our schools and the
broader community, despite the inevitability of divergent views.
This statement is endorsed by The Executive of the South African Board of Jewish Education
and brings the matter to a close with no further action to be taken.

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